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ZDNet: Open source, standards, and Windows

Jan 23, 2002, 12:15 (4 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Larry Seltzer)

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"Let's make the very safe assumption that you have Windows systems in your company. Let's also assume--as is the case in most companies of any size--that you need to write software for them. You have an important decision to make.

Even though your users are running the closed-source and proprietary Windows operating system, you can still write open source software, use open source development tools and adhere to open standards. There are many advantages to this: Taking the open source approach, even on Windows, lets you take advantage of all the work done in the open source community. Most of the products are free, which really streamlines the acquisition process. Finally, you might want to contribute back some of your work to the community. Make sure your boss approves, but unless there's something really proprietary involved you have good arguments on your side, namely that other people may help you do the work.

Windows is definitely looked down upon and somewhat neglected by the open source community, but there's always been a ton of open source software available for Windows. I remember even in the days before Linux there were ports of the GNU tools for Windows. They stunk, but they were useful for benchmarking and porting other simple programs cross-platform. Nowadays you can build fairly complex Windows software using only open source and free software, and a lot of it is from reputable sources too!"

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